2014 Games of My Year – Blizzard Edition

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2014 was a weird year for games.  I played fewer games than I have in the past few years – 35 in 2014 compared to 49 in 2013 and 53 in 2012.  I attribute this change to the release of 2 huge games that sucked several weeks of play time out of me – these 2 games being Destiny and the new World of Warcraft expansion: Warlords of Draenor.  Also interestingly enough, 43% of the games I played were on mobile platforms.  I picked up a 3DS and a Vita at the end of 2013 and was playing catch up with those systems, and they were great.  I was just getting into Dragon Age Inquisition when WoW came along and consumed my life.  I will likely play it through next year and it will land somewhere on the 2015 game of the year list.  I really liked it, but didn’t play enough of it to warrant having it on this list.  Also interesting is the fact that Assassin’s Creed Unity, follow up to last year’s game of my year Assassin’s Creed Black Flag, didn’t even get played by me.  So here are the top 10 games of my year:

10: Titanfall (PC)

Even though I would have loved to have a single player campaign with amazing mech focused Call of Duty moments, the online multiplayer of this game was fantastic.  After years of playing only Battlefield FPS games online, the twitch nature of Titanfall and the addition of the Titans and parkour focused traversal made this a shooter that I just kept playing.  They also added AI controlled bots (read: cannon fodder) to help old gamers like myself feel like I was accomplishing something.

9: Shovel Knight (3DS)

Retro styled games are a dime a dozen these days, but Shovel Knight stood out as one of the best.  Tough difficulty and razor sharp controls gave me some serious Mega Man nostalgia – but with a shovel.  It was also very cool meeting one of the designers at Florida Supercon and chatting with him about the game from their perspective.  I’m looking forward to what Yacht Club games does in the future.

8: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (PC)

I haven’t played a Call of Duty game online since Call of Duty 4.  For whatever reason I decided to give this one a shot.  I’m still working my way through the single player campaign, but have played hours and hours of multiplayer.  Similar to Titanfall, I think the main attraction of this game for me was the twitch shooting nature of it as well as the unique traversal options they’ve added.  I see myself continuing to play the multiplayer side of this off and on for the foreseeable future.

7: The Walking Dead: Season 2 (PC)

Telltale did it again with this fantastic followup to my 2012 game of my year.  The new perspective playing as Clementine added a whole new dimension to the Walking Dead series.  The choices were harder than ever especially because you were role playing as a young girl who in all the best circumstances should be at home watching My Little Pony on Netflix.  But… zombies.  I cannot wait for Season 3 to drop.

6: Destiny (PS4)

Despite all the hate this game got later on, it didn’t stop me from putting dozens of hours into Destiny.  The shooting mechanics were top notch and the MMO loot grinding mechanics kept me coming back until I had exhausted all of the content the game had to offer.  With the release of new expansion content for Destiny, I will likely make my way back to check it all out in the future.  Some of my best gaming moments of the year were grouping up with my friends to take on the weekly strike and raid content of Destiny.

5: Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls (PC)

Diablo 3 OG was fine.  Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls changed the game.  While I don’t really want to put an expansion in my game of the year list, Reaper of Souls did so much for Diablo 3 that I felt it had to be here.  I began the expansion by starting a brand new game with the newly added Crusader class and didn’t stop until I had reached the level cap and had dabbled a little (or a lot) in the adventure mode.  I still find my self coming back to this game to tackle some quests and hunt some more epic lootz.

4: Hearthstone (PC/iOS)

I think Hearthstone was on my 2013 list, but because it was technically released in 2014 and because it’s so awesome, it’s here again.  Hearthstone is great casual (or not) fun.  Blizzard has done a great job bringing a genre that previously was only for super nerds to the gaming forefront.  It has also become a streaming and eSports behemoth with Hearthstone streams being some of the most popular on Twitch.  Sitting and watching the Hearthstone grand finals live at Blizzcon ranks in the top gaming moments of 2014 for me.

3: Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS)

A Link Between Worlds proves that the best Zelda games are the top down kind.   A Link Between Worlds is the sequel to the SNES classic A Link to the Past and is the second best in Zelda’s history behind A Link to the Past.  Gameplay, music, exploration and the return to a familiar world made this game stand out and reach number 3 in my list.  Is it odd that a mobile game could make it this high?  Nope.  Once I started playing this game, I couldn’t put it down until it was finished and will likely revisit it again in 2015.

2: Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (PS4)

Shadow of Mordor would have been my game of the year until that (spoiler) pesky WoW expansion came along.  This game did everything right and was an absolute delight to play.  Unlike most games (even some that are on this list), there was never a time during my play through where I wished a part was over or wished I was playing something else.  Shadow of Mordor’s combat took the Arkham Asylum combat to a whole new bloody level and it was amazing.  Take that combat and throw in some Assassin’s Creed sneaking and traversal and you got something pretty good.  Then take all of that and add in the nemesis system (randomly generated minibosses that exist and live within a hierarchy of Orc culture that you hunt down and kill (or command) to affect the Mordor war machine) and you have one of the greatest games of 2014 and the best game on the PS4.

1: World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor

This game shouldn’t be here.  No way a 10 year old game’s expansion could be the best game of 2014.  I thought I was done with World of Warcraft.  I was wrong.  I don’t know how, but Blizzard pulled something incredible off with Warlords of Draenor and sucked me right back into the world… of Warcraft.  But you don’t have to take my word for it.  The decline of WoW’s subscription numbers was no secret.  Even I was to the point where I was out for good.  When Warlords of Draenor released, WoW’s subscriptions jumped from 6 million to over 10 million.  They’ve done everything right.  The game is easier than ever to pick up and play.  Crafting is streamlined.  Gold is no longer an issue.  PVP is more balanced and easier to gear with than ever.  The garrison addition is new and amazingly addictive.  The fact that they gave everyone a free level 90 character was just the icing on the cake and made it easier than ever to get all the friends together to play.  Even in our own crew, Warlords of Draenor has brought on friends that have never played WoW before and that’s awesome.  I’m into it – and I don’t see myself stopping any time soon.  Well played Blizzard.

Honorable Mentions:

Persona 4: The Golden (Vita)

Persona 4 is a great game and perfect on the Vita.  I only with I had more time to dump into this 90+ hour game.  I’ll finish it eventually.

Gunpoint (PC)

A great 2 hour long indie game about rewiring buildings and punching people (not necessarily in that order).  This game is great and is one that I will play through again.

Watch Dogs (PS4)

Another game that got a lot of hate for not living up to the hype train and everyone’s expectations.  I fully enjoyed my time with Watch Dogs and plan on eventually finishing out the lengthy campaign.



One Response to “2014 Games of My Year – Blizzard Edition”

  1. Mark says:

    Great write up LG. I’m surprised the new COD made your list. Looking back, 2014 was a very good year for gamers. I hav eplayed about 3/4 of this list and agree with a lot of it. Thanks for taking the time to give us your thoughts.

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